A winter sportsman narrowly escaped death after being pulled hundreds of feet into the air by a gust of wind before crashing to earth next to a rocky outcrop, in a terrifying ordeal captured on video.
The accident highlights the dangers of the extreme sport of snowkiting, a cross between snowboarding and kitesurfing in which enthusiasts attached to large kites harness the power of the wind to perform stunts at winter resorts. In the footage, which is believed to have been filmed in Algeria, the snowkiter is seen travelling in circles on the ground in an effort to build up speed, when a sudden gust sucks him vertically into the air. The man, who is named in the clip as Algerian extreme sportsman Malik Bouchenafa, narrowly avoids crashing into a brick wall, but refuses to let go of the handle as the wind pulls him higher into the sky. Mr Bouchenafa's friends on the ground cry out in fear as he becomes no more than a small dot in the sky, the wind buffeting and spinning his body in all directions. After nearly 30 seconds in the air he plummets to earth on higher ground, just a few feet from a formation of rocks sticking out through the snow. Despite his ordeal it appears Mr Bouchenafa was uninjured, as later in the footage he is shown boarding back down the hill carrying his kite. Commenters on the clip, which was posted on YouTube last week, criticised Mr Bouchenafa for risking his life, one describing him as "a person who has totally lost their grip on reality". Another accused the Algerian, who is known as Magic Malik and made his name as a kitesurfer on water, of using methods suitable for the ocean in an entirely inappropriate situation. "You do not use sea-kite techniques in the mountains, the rangers have better things to do," he wrote.